Thursday, 9 July 2009

New 111 non-emergency healthcare phone number

People could soon be able to call a single memorable number when they need medical help and advice. Ofcom has today published its proposals for a new single memorable phone number for the Department of Health, 111, to make it easier for patients to access non-emergency healthcare in their local area.

The Department of Health intends to introduce the service in England which will provide advice and information to the public when they need medical help urgently but the situation is not life-threatening. The price of calls will be determined by the Department of Health through negotiations with communications providers, and the consultation sets out a range of pricing option. These include making calls free to the caller, 10p per call, 3p per minute or charged at local or national rates.

999 and 112 will continue to be the numbers to call in an emergency. The Department of Health intends to pilot the number in certain parts of the country from spring 2010 and expects to roll out the service across England following these pilots. Health authorities in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales may consider whether to introduce the 111 service following the outcome of the pilots in England.
To view more information regarding this proposal, please click here.

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